Letter from UVA Graduate to President William C. Dudley

Dear President Dudley,

Your latest attempt to eradicate every semblance of the traditions that make W&L a unique institution among America’s elite colleges is beyond the pale. I thought the removal of “all things connected with Robert E. Lee” was bad enough. Now you cannot even tolerate a plaque honoring his horse Traveller, who outlived President Lee by a year? I think recalling Army Special Counsel Joseph Welch’s question to Senator Joe McCarthy is appropriate:  “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” 

I am the father of a W&L Law school alumna, and a graduate of UVA and William and Mary. I also am the co-founder of The Jefferson Council for the University of Virginia, a group of committed alumni closely aligned with The Generals Redoubt. TGR and TJC are committed to combat President Ryan’s and your attempt to transform our cherished alma maters into universities that personify academic paragons of Progressive, Orwellian virtue. Neither you nor President Ryan have any ability to judge our universities’ founders – Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Robert E. Lee – in the context of their times.

I was a history major at UVA, obtaining my MBA at William and Mary later. So, I have a deep appreciation for our nation’s prior leaders while also possessing a real-world business perspective on attacking crises. TGR and TJC are well aware that verbal suasion and reason have done nothing to stem your and President Ryan’s attempt to obliterate our alma mater’s defining traditions. Nothing short of your removal will suffice.

I attended your 2017 visit to the W&L Baltimore chapter at the Elkridge Club. My wife’s and my daughter was then a W&L Law student, and I have numerous W&L friends, so it was a natural event to go to. After your talk during the Q&A, a W&L alumnus asked you if you would  “change the traditions of W&L” since you came to Lexington from Williams, a decidedly liberal college. You smiled and assured him you would not, since you were a Virginian by birth, and respected the traditions personified by George Washington and Robert E. Lee. I went up to you after the talk, and we had a brief conversation. I told you our daughter was a W&L Law student, loved it, and was relieved to hear you would uphold the traditions that made W&L a special place. You smiled, shook my hand, and assured me you would.

You lied.

I know you got your BA/MA/PHD in philosophy from Williams. I took several Philosophy courses at UVA as an undergrad, one of which was “Morals and Politics.” It was basically studying the works of Socrates, Plato and the classic Greek philosophers. I attended a Jesuit prep school where we also studied them, as well as the Roman writers like Virgil (the Aeneid) since Latin was a required subject. So, although I don’t profess to have your level of expertise in Philosophy, I do claim a better than average understanding of Western Civilization and the philosophical tenets upon which it is based. I think this Socrates quote is one that is germane to this discussion, one you should read daily and adhere to, recounting a conversation that Socrates had with his friend Agathon:

But, my dearest Agathon, it is truth which you cannot contradict; you can without any difficulty contradict Socrates.

Given the abject lie you committed at the W&L Elkridge Country Club gathering in 2017, I suggest that you fall back on your Philosophy academic learnings and reverse course. Restore Robert E. Lee and Traveller.

Obviously, I know that will not happen, because you are a committed Leftist. Therefore, Mr. McAlevey, do your damn job and fire President Dudley. That is the only solution to this. If you don’t, your alma mater will not exist in a few years. If for no other reason, look at alumni contributions. They have dried up.


Thomas M. Neale
William and Mary MBA’78
Father of Carroll B. Neale, W&L Law’19

Thomas M. Neale
University of Virginia Class of 1974
President and Co-Founder
The Jefferson Council for the University of Virginia
Cell ph#: 410-804-0417

“To Be A Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above.”

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